Facebook Dating app feature: How to use
Following LinkedIn, the second-least-sexy social media app has entered the dating industry. Facebook Dating, which has been available in other countries since last year, is now available in the US in an attempt to compete with established dating applications like Tinder, Bumble, and OkCupid.
What would a Facebook Dating system look like? To use Facebook’s own words, it’s difficult. While many have compared the layout to that of the dating app Hinge, which is available to users 18 and older inside the main Facebook mobile app (in a separate tab), the fact that Facebook is already a part of people’s lives whether they’re looking for love or not sets it apart.
Facebook is striving to address most of these issues by segregating Dating as much as possible from its main app. Users must first register for the program and then create a separate profile. For example, Facebook Dating does not display users’ Facebook friends and allows users to filter friends of friends from potential matches. You can also prevent some people from seeing your Facebook dating profile. Users, on the other hand, can send messages to one another without first matching.
Then there’s “Hidden Crush,” which lets you add up to nine (!) Facebook friends or Instagram followers to a list and have both of you be notified if they secretly crush you back. (The program only works if both parties have created Facebook Dating profiles; adding Timothée Chalamet’s Instagram account to your Secret Crush list will not alert Timothée Chalamet, and vice versa.)
The official launch of Facebook Dating’s integration with Facebook-owned Instagram takes place today. Daters may now add Instagram posts to their profiles (much like Tinder and Hinge), as well as add Instagram followers to their Secret Crush list. Users will be able to add Instagram Stories to their profiles before the end of the year, according to Facebook.
With a $5 billion FTC punishment for privacy violations settled in July — the biggest penalty ever imposed against a digital company — and a new antitrust probe starting, the question of whether Facebook is equipped to manage considerably more potentially even more personal data is a major one.
Facebook Dating says it matches people based on what they like. But there’s obviously more to the story.
There’s a reason Facebook Dating is free and doesn’t display advertisements: it’s not yet profitable for Facebook. According to Recode, “Facebook is content to let Dating serve as yet another excuse for young people to open the app and welcome Facebook into their personal lives.”
Facebook Dating, on the other hand, will collect even more information from Facebook users, information that is likely to be more personal, up-to-date, and relevant to what individuals genuinely like and think. Facebook Dating’s argument is basically this: Facebook knows everything about you, so they’ll set you up with a better match. “Facebook Dating makes it easier to discover love with what you desire – helping you establish meaningful relationships through things you have in common, like interests, activities, and organizations,” the press release begins.
Of course, the algorithm’s specific workings are a well guarded secret. Aside from gender preferences, location, and “interests and other stuff you do on Facebook,” Facebook Dating product manager Nathan Sharp told TechCrunch that you can be paired with a fellow alumnus of the same institution, even if neither of you specified it on your dating accounts.
As Sarah Perez of TechCrunch points out, Facebook, unlike their old university, has a lot more usable information about people. “You might say on Tinder that you ‘enjoy hiking,’ but Facebook will know if and how frequently you engaged in hiking-related groups or activities,” she adds. “It might also know a lot more about you, like your hike check-ins, if you had mountains in your photos, if you shared posts with the keyword ‘hiking,’ if you ‘Liked’ Facebook Pages on hiking, and so on.” Facebook, on the other hand, has refused to comment on the matter.
Facebook Dating doesn’t exactly consider how people actually use Facebook
Apart from data privacy concerns, Facebook Dating’s existence is surprising for another reason: Instagram is unquestionably the hornier app. Its reputation as a sanctuary for the young, wealthy, and attractive makes it a more likely dating destination, especially because the DM slide is already a popular way to shoot your shot with a possible partner.
According to The Information reporter Alex Heath on Twitter, “FB basically wants the blue app to be about friends/people contacts and wants IG to lean more into brands/celebrities.” This looks to be in keeping with Facebook’s 2018 algorithm change, which prioritized friend and community updates over news articles and videos in the News Feed (and thus contributed to major media industry upheaval).
What’s more, why is this happening now? After extending beyond college students in 2006, Facebook’s Relationship Status feature created a lot of debate, and the term “Facebook Official” was coined for people who were finally ready to declare their relationship to the world. Then there came the “Poke,” which was both flirty and disturbing (somehow, Poking still exists). As many adults’ first social networking account, Facebook quickly became associated with urban legends about middle-aged married people reconnecting with high school friends and cheating on their wives with old lovers. If Facebook Dating was ever going to be a thing, it appears that it should have been done from the beginning.
Will people actually use it?
Facebook Dating will profit handsomely despite its late entry into the market. Analysts estimate that the market will be worth $12 billion by 2020, and Match Group, which owns almost all of the most popular dating apps save Bumble, made $1.7 billion last year. It’s also likely that Facebook Dating will attract users who are turned off by other dating apps, whether it’s due to their age or preconceived notions about their hookup-oriented existence.
Recode’s Kurt Wagner predicts that Facebook Dating may be a multibillion-dollar industry, despite Facebook’s declaration that it has no ambitions to profit from it. “Facebook officials estimate that 200 million people on the platform identify as’single.’ “While this is a modest portion of Facebook’s 2.2 billion monthly users, it represents a sizable potential audience for a dating service,” he adds. Tinder, on the other hand, has a paid user base of 3.8 million people.
Facebook Dating, as Kaitlyn Tiffany of Vox pointed out, may have a huge edge over other dating apps in that it allows users to filter friends of friends from their match list, avoiding the unpleasantness of seeing former coworkers and friends’ ex-boyfriends.
According to Facebook, there have already been engagements and marriages between app users, and “the fact that Facebook has introduced the service to 20 countries in less than a year demonstrates that it has been popular with early users,” as Casey Newton of The Verge points out. The shares of Match Group has dropped 4% today, probably reflecting the popularity of Facebook Dating. It’s unclear whether there’s been a stampede to erase Tinder profiles in favor of Facebook Dating, but that could be what Facebook is banking on: users who never downloaded Tinder in the first place.
Read also: How do I view my Facebook Dating information
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